As a growing business, you know that increasing brand exposure and maintaining strong brand awareness are both key to ensuring longevity and driving long-term sales. Yet, this can seem like a daunting task to undertake on a tight start-up budget. Implementing a carefully considered merchandising strategy is one simple, proven way of promoting your brand without breaking the bank.
Here, we run through five smart, cost-effective merchandising ideas to build buzz for your growing business.
#1- Run a Giveaway Contest with Custom Badges
Hosting attention-grabbing giveaway contests on your social pages is a powerful tool to build brand awareness, increase online engagement and create a memorable brand experience. Giving away free stuff when you’re trying to sell products may seem counterintuitive, but hosting carefully considered giveaways really can yield positive results and quickly too!
The ultimate goal with a giveaway is to introduce new people to your product or service, engage with your fans and inspire them to develop a lasting connection with your brand. As you’re aiming to reach as many people as possible, the key here is to focus on budget-friendly giveaway items like enamel pins, button badges or even keyrings.
#2- Create an Event Swag Bag
As a growing business, it’s likely your calendar is already chock-full of exciting trade events to attend or organise. Not only are events a great place to network and build sales connections, but they also present the perfect opportunity to showcase your merchandise.
Creating an event swag bag packed with well-designed, branded merchandise is a great way to drive traffic to your stand, maximise opportunities at the event and leave a lasting impression on attendees long after everyone’s packed up. Prioritising useful, practical items such as pens, button badges and stationery will help extend brand exposure when people wear or use your merchandise again and again. Don’t forget about the bag itself! Be sure to design an eye-catching tote or carrier that will entice people to visit your stall and strike up a conversation.
You could take this one step further and design covetable, higher-quality custom merchandise like pins or badges that event-goers can purchase and take home for a small fee. The key here is to design your ‘for-sale badges’ with a distinguished finish or embellishments to give them that extra special touch.
#3- ‘Go Green’ with Eco-Friendly Merchandise
Tap into the fast-growing eco-conscious consumer trend and promote your brand with eco-friendly merchandise such as tote bags, travel mugs and reusable water bottles. In today’s fragile climate, championing brands who care about their eco-footprint is more important than ever to consumers. Focusing on sustainable, long-life merchandise is a great way to ‘do your bit’ and help consumers reduce their eco-footprint.
Reusable drinkware is a great place to start. The Guardian reports that consumers are ditching single-use coffee cups and water bottles in droves, in favour of chic reusable mugs and flasks. Take Boomtown festival for example, who recently partnered up with Raw Foundation, an eco-warrior charity, to create a branded stainless steel bottle available for festival-goers to purchase before and during the event. This product promotes both organisations’ aim to eliminate single-use plastic at the event and beyond, drives revenue and creates an army of walking ambassadors for their brand everytime the bottles are used!
#4- Create a Covetable Collection
From stamps, to model trains, vintage pin badges and everything in-between, the UK is a nation of ‘collection’ enthusiasts! Just like magpies, humans love stashing shiny new things to add to their collections- which provides a great opportunity for savvy brands to create merchandise that hooks consumers. This could be a series of stylish enamel pin badges to coincide with a new product launch, event or brand anniversary. Or, you could create a matching set of different merchandising products such as a bag, t-shirt and mug. There are limitless possibilities!
Brewdog, for example, took inspiration from their mouth-watering brews and played with proportions to create an eye-catching, collectable set of mini ‘beer-cap’ badges.
One smart idea is to build hype for your merchandise by drip-feeding the release of a new collection across weekly, or monthly, email and social announcements. Fans eagerly awaiting each release will create buzz across your social channels and drive longer-term engagement with your brand.
#5- Think Outside the Box
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your merchandising ideas, just remember to keep your budget in mind before embarking on a wild and wacky launch! The key here is to come up with a unique concept that aligns with your brand guidelines and won’t take up a hefty chunk of the budget. One easy way to do this is by keeping your ideas big, but your products small. You can make memorable merchandise like pins or buttons that are small in stature but pack a big punch.
Make a statement and be bold with size, shapes and colours. Whether you want to design a show-stopping, super-sized badge, create a collectable set of miniatures or settle somewhere in-between- don’t be afraid to experiment. If you have a strong social media presence, why not translate your successful hashtags into ‘IRL’ items? Just be sure to keep your audience and budget in mind during the design process to avoid financial headaches later down the line.
This list is just a small taster of the myriad ways you can use custom merchandise to boost your brand and market your growing business in both the physical and online spheres. Ultimately, it is possible to achieve big results on a small budget; just make sure you invest time in focusing your efforts and planning your strategy to ensure sure-fire success.